US President Barrack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev committed to launch negotiations on a new nuclear arms treaty to reduce nuclear warheads on Wednesday, issuing a broader cooperation pact across a wide range of policy areas.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says it would be the first major arms control negotiations since 1997. As they sat down face to face meeting, Obama and Medvedev declared in their join statements that the “era when we viewed each other as enemies is long over”.
They pledged to begin work immediately on a new treaty to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires at the end of this year. They were also agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals to levels lower than those mandated by the Moscow Treaty of 2002.
The two leaders vowed at the same time to jointly confront other perceived threats. They especially mentioned the nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea and al-Qaida militants who have found refuge in Pakistan.
Gibbs says the two countries want to reduce the number of nuclear warheads but they have not settled on a specific goal.
Earlier Wednesday, Obama said time has come for them to emphasize areas where they can work together. The statements could serve as a major boost both countries.
Obama told reporters that he will travel to Moscow in July; the two leaders said they should report progress on the new arms reduction treaty.